UFC The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale
DraftKings Breakdown Friday, November 30th
This was a very rough week with two UFC cards and lots of tape to watch. This article has my plays but it will be short. There is no podcast for The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale. We have a podcast and articles for UFC Fight Night 142 up already.
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The Main Event: Kamaru Usman $9K vs Rafael dos Anjos $7.2K
I am all in on the cash stack this week, this fight is most likely going five rounds so I’ll take five rounds of strikes, takedowns, and passes. I also do favor Usman to win this fight via decision. We have seen Covington versus RDA and this fight should be a carbon copy. Usman needs this fight to get his title shot. He’ll do what he does best and get it to the mat and use his strength advantage.
GPP Fight: Maurice Greene $8.7K vs Michel Batista $7.5K
Maurice Greene is a very big kickboxer. He’s 6-foot-7 and uses that range to strike. Batista is low volume but wants to wrestle. In his TUF 28 semifinal fight, he was hurt and didn’t compete. He claimed after the fight he couldn’t move, and it looked like that during the minimal action we saw. He isn’t very active in his regional fights either. He did use his wrestling, but he didn’t strike much once he got the takedown. My play here is Greene, and I think he can get the KO/TKO.
GPP Fight: Edmen Shahbazyan $8.3K vs Darren Stewart $7.9K
Hype trains are lots of fun, and this Shahbazyan hype train is no different. This line opened with Shahbazyan as a -310 favorite but was quickly bet to even money. Shahbazyan was groomed to fight from the age of 10 years old, and his manager and training partner is Ronda Rousey. The narrative surrounding this fight is clear, but Darren Stewart is the guy with the UFC experience fighting a 21-year-old with a 7-0 record and all seven fights finished in Round 1. This fight finishes early so lock one of these guys in your GPP lineup. At the moment, I have five GPP lineups with Stewart on three of them and Shahbazyan on the other two.
GPP Fight: Juan Espina $8.5K vs Justin Frazier $7.7K
Justin Frazier has a puncher’s chance, but I am all over Juan Espina in this fight. Espina is intense in the cage and out of it. He is well rounded and looks to take the fight where he sees an advantage. Espina also trains at ATT so he has camp pedigree. Frazier won his semifinal fight vs a hurt Michel Batista. I think Greene and Espina were the best two fighters on the show and their semifinal matchup should have been the final.
Top Tier Leans ($9.5K-$8.7K):.
- Raoni Barcelos $9.5K- Barcelos is better everywhere and he’s stronger. Barcelos is dropping down a weight class here so after rehydrating he should be the bigger fighter with more power. His BJJ is also very good so a submission is possible. Play him in cash and GPPs if you can afford him.
- Tim Means $9.4K – Means is the more experienced fighter and keeps a much higher pace. Rainey is low volume and I think Means is just better everywhere. My only concern is if Rainey doesn’t engage much, it will that prevent Means from scoring well on Draftkings. In that case, he’s a medium volume GPP option.
- Roosevelt Roberts $9.2K – Roberts has been great so far but I’m not overly impressed with his level of competition. He hasn’t seen the third round yet as all six of his fights have finished in the first or second round. He has three wins via submission and three wins via KO/TKO. Horcher is a low-level UFC fighter, but he has experience, so this will be a good test for Roberts. If Roberts is able to style on Horcher he will score well with his aggressive approach to submission grappling. He a GPP play and a nice cash play also.
Mid Tier Leans ($8.6K-$7.7K):
- Alex Perez $8.2K – Alex Perez has an opportunity to get a win over a named opponent. Perez is a beast, his metrics are very good and if this fight goes to decision, he should score well. He averages 5.25 strikes landed per minute and 3.68 takedowns per fight. Benavidez did not look like himself vs Sergio Pettis last time out. He had a fight scheduled with Ray Borg that was canceled during fight week and rebooked here. Perez is three inches taller and will be much bigger on fight night. He weighed in at 126 pounds last fight and was 146.5 pounds in the right. That is significant at this weight class.
- Rick Glenn $7.8K – I had picked Rick Glenn before he missed weight and I like him even more now that he came in 2 pounds over. He is very tall, standing at 6-foot, and will have a five-inch height advantage. He should be able to use his kicks to keep distance and point fight Aguilar to a three-round decision. Glenn has gone to decision in his last six fights. He may not score well but an underdog with a clear path to victory needs to be considered. I expect a very close split decision.
- Pannie Kianzad $8.6K – This is the 145-pound TUF Finale. I am not a fan of the buddy/buddy approach Kianzad and Chiasson have displayed up to this point. I can only assume the allure of being crowned the TUF 28 Champion will have them prepared to fight. Kianzad is the higher volume, more technical striker so I like her to win a 3 round decision. Chiasson did not look good striking in her semifinal fight. She was able to muscle her opponent down with a hip toss and eventually use knees from the clinch to finish her opponent. Kianzad would be much better served to push away and make this a technical striking fight. Significant strikes in woman’s MMA score very well, I can see her scoring if this goes 3 round and stays standing. Give me the better striker.
Lower Tier Leans ($7.6K-$6.7K):
- Ji Yeon Kim $6.9K – Please confirm this fight is still on before you play Kim. Kim missed weight by 4.5 pounds and the fight as confirmed to be on by media outlets but then Kim and Shevchenko did not attend ceremonial weigh ins last night and the announcing crew said details were still being worked out by the commission. I really like Kim at her price. She is a good striker with long arms and uses her length when she strikes. She is a boxer who throws punches like a boxer. I’m not sure how Kim will handle the Thai clinch but at her price, she makes for a great cash punt. The weight miss of 4.5 pounds was strategic also. She was coming in on short notice.
- Bryan Caraway $7.4K – Caraway has all the skills to make Pedro Munhoz really work for this win. Caraway looks to wrestle and secure takedowns. He has a good BJJ game but Munhoz is obviously better there. He doesn’t have knockout power but he uses his jab and combinations. I think he beat Cody Stamann last fight and I think he is going to take this fight the distance. Decent play in cash and you can use him in GPPs.
Here is my advice for gathering information for any UFC event:
- Go to Tapology and print out the sheet for this event with all 12 fights listed.
- Listen to the Premium Podcast and make notes on the fights as you listen.
- Read this article and Tyler’s UFC article for more information.
- Check the odds on fight day to see if any line movement opens up value plays.
Types of MMA Contests on Draftkings:
- Cash (Head 2 Heads, 50/50s, triple ups)- Depending on the card I suggest 1 to 3 cash lineups. Playing cash is a slow grind. Pay attention to line movement. Some of the line movement happens early in the week but some will happen the day of the fight. When the line moves drastically that fighter will be highly owned in cash. Stacking the 5 round fights usually pays off. I like the Conor/Khabib stack here.
- Single Entry GPPs- Draftkings runs a $12, $5, and $1 single entry tournament every week. I play in them as my main source of GPP exposure. You don’t have to be overly risky here but you do want finishes here.
- Low Entry GPPs (less than 20 entries)- You play play these a few different ways. Sometimes I will spread around my exposure but other times I will work a 2 or 3 fighter core and only spread the remaining fighters in those other spots. A good place to fade fights or fighters. Draftkings runs a 20 entry $4 tourney most weeks. They also run a 3 entry $3 contest and a 3 entry $20 contest.
- High Entry GPPs (more than 20 entries)- You need the nuts to bring the big prize home!